JUN 06, 2022 8:08 AM PDT

Stagnant US Cervical Cancer Survival Rates

WRITTEN BY: Alexandria Bass

According to JAMA Network, despite the overall cancer mortality rate decreasing since the 90s, cervical cancer survival rates in the US haven’t changed much in nearly 5 decades. Second to breast cancer, cervical cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in women between the ages of 20 and 39 years old. This is surprising given that cervical cancer screenings and vaccinations exist and that it’s very treatable when caught early. According to gynecologic oncologist, Elena Pereira, MD, with adequate screening, cervical cancer is very preventable.

In research published earlier this year, cervical cancer screenings were found to have declined in the US for the past 14 years – the percentage of women who didn’t receive timely screening increased from 14.4% in 2005 to 23% in 2019. According to the authors of this research, women commonly reported they didn’t know they needed screenings. Current guidelines are that women be screened every 3 to 5 years with a human papillomavirus (HPV) test, a Pap test, or both. 

According to the CDC, HPV causes more than 9 out of 10 cases of cervical cancer but available vaccines make HPV-associated cervical cancer highly preventable, preventing more than 90% of cancers caused by HPV. Vaccination rate against HPV, however, is said to be lower than other vaccines in age groups it’s recommended for – for both female and male teenagers. 

HPV can linger in other organs and eventually lead to cancer in those organs as well, particularly the throat in males. HPV-associated cancers usually take years, even up to decades, to develop after initial infection. HPV infection can also cause genital warts.

Electra Paskett, director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control in the Department of Internal Medicine at OSU College of Medicine states that lower screening rates, especially in rural areas, may also be related to fear of the stigma that may come along with an HPV diagnosis. HPV vaccination rates are said to be lowest in teenagers living in rural communities and from lower-income backgrounds.

Even after vaccination, however, regular screenings are recommended. HPV vaccines do not protect against all strains and do not prevent infection if a person was exposed to HPV before vaccination. Although HPV-associated cervical cancer takes years to develop after infection, if not caught early in screenings, it can become invasive and then progress quickly.

Sources: JAMA Network, CDCImmunize
 

About the Author
BA in Psychology
Alexandria (Alex) is a freelance science writer with a passion for educating the public on health issues. Her other professional experience includes working as a speech-language pathologist in health care, a research assistant in a food science laboratory, and an English teaching assistant in Spain. In her spare time, Alex enjoys cycling, lap swimming, jogging, and reading.
You May Also Like
NOV 08, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
A promising treatment for chronic lung infection in cystic fibrosis
NOV 08, 2022
A promising treatment for chronic lung infection in cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis (CF) affects over 100,000 people worldwide and is caused by one of several known mutations in the CFTR ( ...
NOV 13, 2022
Microbiology
A Cancer-Linked Microbe Can Use a Dietary Nutrient to Survive
NOV 13, 2022
A Cancer-Linked Microbe Can Use a Dietary Nutrient to Survive
The microbes in the human gastrointestinal tract, known as the gut microbiome, have a significant impact on out health a ...
NOV 21, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Fish bones push evidence of human cooking back 600,000 years
NOV 21, 2022
Fish bones push evidence of human cooking back 600,000 years
A hallmarking characteristic of being human is cooking food, and new research pushes back the origins of cooking by 600, ...
NOV 17, 2022
Microbiology
Soil Fungi are Causing Serious Lung Infections Across the US
NOV 17, 2022
Soil Fungi are Causing Serious Lung Infections Across the US
Various types of fungi in soils are causing serious lung infections in 48 of 50 US states, and the District of Columbia, ...
NOV 23, 2022
Technology
Hyperthermic Nanoparticles for Cancer Treatment
NOV 23, 2022
Hyperthermic Nanoparticles for Cancer Treatment
Hyperthermia (excess heats) refers to the use of high temperatures to treat cancer. When used to treat tumors locally, h ...
NOV 22, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Women With Benign Breast Diseases, Including Cysts and Fibroadenomas, Face Higher Risk of Breast Cancer
NOV 22, 2022
Women With Benign Breast Diseases, Including Cysts and Fibroadenomas, Face Higher Risk of Breast Cancer
Though they are very common, benign breast diseases may indicate an increased likelihood of developing breast cancer at ...
Loading Comments...